|Living Conditions of Low-income Older Persons in Human Settlements UNCHS (Habitat) (HABITAT, 1999, 38 p.)|
The rapid increase of aging population in urban areas presents a growing challenge for the national and local governments of developing countries.
United Nations population projections indicate that within the next 50 years the proportion of those over 60 years of age in developing countries will increase from the present 5 - 6 per cent to about 25 per cent, one-fourth of total population in urban areas.
Today, many governments are making the mistake of considering all aging people as disabled thus requiring special assistance and health care. Legislation and administrative responsibilities frequently lump these categories together. When both the aging and disabled formed a small minority of the population this seemed appropriate. The rapid growth of aging population requires new and greatly revised approaches and government policies for employment, retirement age, health care, shelter, and community facilities and services. The increase in aging population means that, if present policies are not revised, the earnings and taxes of the active labor force will have the burden of supporting an increasing number of retired persons as family members or recipients of public assistance.
The survey of older people reveals that over half of the aging population is in their 60s, and that three-fourths of those interviewed considered their health as good or fair. Furthermore, the majority of those citing disabilities were in their 70s or older; and only a very few people complained of major disabilities which would inhibit their ability to work. In fact, a goodly proportion of the elderly said they would like to work if they had the opportunity.